The Best Site to See The Survived Population of Javan White-eye in Java

On July 21st 2018 we had a client from the US looking for the main target, the Javan White-eye (Zosterops flavus) that is found only in west & south of Borneo, coastal north of Java and Madura.

Due to the massive hunting and poaching of all kinds of white-eye’s species, the population in the wild is in a crazy decline. Sounds like critically endangered.

Khaleb Yordan told us that the last time he saw this endemic white-eye in western of Java was 2 years ago. Yesterday was a reunion for him, also lifer for Mr. Russell Graham.

We saw more than 6 individuals in the safe area since the people around here are educated well for conservation of wildlife.

We started birding that day after leaving Juanda international airport, Surabaya, East Java. The location is not too far away, it takes about 30 minutes from the airport. At 6.30 am we went to a location called Wonorejo. This is a huge fish-pond and mangrove area.

On the first stop, before the parking area we tried looking at Sunda Coucal. Usually, it’s perched on tree or bushes top for sun-bathing. Sadly, the birds were not shown and we did not hear the sounds.

At least a male Freckle-breasted Woodpecker is perched on a dried branch. We don’t want to miss it.

Following the Javan White-eye movement.

Then we walk slowly, a clear call of Cerulean Kingfisher attracting us. For sure, a single bird perched in front of us, divided by the river. The kingfisher was perched on a bush near the water surface. Then it flies, responding to the other kingfisher’s calls.

We move to the parking area and prepare our stuff to get inside. But, we have to take time around the Muntingia calabura tree.

3 individuals of Scarlet-headed Flowerpeckers foraging on that tree. Our client pulled up his binocular to add it into his life-list. Bravo! new lifer again.

Satisfied with it, we continued walking to pursue our main target.

Walk for about 500 meters inside through fish-pond and mangrove trees. Then we played the Javan White-eye’s sounds. We heard the response at a mangrove tree that was full of Cave Swiftlet. This was also new for him.

We approached the tree and found the object. Voila! our ears were correct, four individuals gleaning its prey below the mangrove’s leaves at the middle canopy.

The Javan White-eye foraging in mangrove tree

Hang out and enjoy the birds also following its movement while watching other species until our clients are satisfied.

At 8.30 am we moved out to warung (small canteen) near the parking area. After taking a break for a while we continued again to other directions. But the number of birds was low and no new birds were added to the list. So we ended the trip and started driving to the airport.


  1. 6+ individuals Javan White-eye (Zosterops flavus)
  2. A male Freckle-breasted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos analis)
  3. 5 individuals Cerulean Kingfisher (Alcedo coerulescens)
  4. A pair and 1 immature male Scralet-headed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trochileum)
  5. Single adult Javan Tailorbird / Olive-backed Tailorbird (Orthotomus sepium)

Other birds are included such as:

Javan-pond Heron, Purple Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Striated Heron, Great Egret, White-shouldered Thriller, Spotted Dove, Island-collared Dove, Sacred Kingfisher, Javan Plover, Common Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Whiskered Tern, Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Black-winged Stilt, Golden-bellied Gerygone, Little Black Cormorant, Sunda Teal, Racket-tailed Treepie, Cave Swiftlet, Scally-breasted Munia, Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

Other Taxa:

Javan Mongoose

Wonorejo Wetland, Best Site to Birding in Surabaya

Birding in Wonorejo wetland, located at the Surabaya south east-coast, with a total area of approximately 50 hectares and consists of fishpond (locally called tambak), scrub and mangrove areas affected by tidal, provides a broad mudflat for feeding grounds to resident and migratory birds in estuary area. This site is important for migratory seabirds and shorebirds/waders in East Asia-Australia Fly Away, also birdlife listed Wonorejo as Important Bird Area.

Administratively in Wonorejo village, Rungkut sub district, Surabaya City, East Java. The area became the best locations for birding and bird photography in the Metropolitan Surabaya. Easy driving distance for 15 km from city centre (45 minutes). The nearest airport is Juanda International Airport (45 minutes).

Three major paths or spot to explore approximately 150 birds species in the area, read below:

1. Parking Area (Near Canteen “Mbok Rum”)

Start from around the parking area, walk and observe some birds may you see here are Collared Kingfisher, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, White-browed Crake, Common Moorhen, Plain Prinia, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Brown-throated Sunbirds.

Canteen Mbok Rum, parking area is behind it

Some endemic birds such as Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker, Small-blue or Cerulean Kingfisher, Javan Munia and Javan Plover. And during the migration season of the North Hemisphere, various migratory birds might be seen such as Red-necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Long-toed Stint, Common Sandpiper, Greater Sand Plover, Lesser Sand Plover and more.

2. Fish Pond

From the parking area walk to the east towards the fishpond area. Along the paths the birds might can be seen are White-headed (pied) Stilt, Lesser Crested Tern, White-winged Tern, Little Tern, Common Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Australian Grebe, Little Cormorant, Spotted Dove, Common Iora, Javan Pond Heron. If lucky, some endemic and rare birds such as Javan Coucal and Java Sparrow. There are several fishponds where the specific shorebirds prefer presents such as Bar-tailed Godwit, Great Knot, Whimbrel, Far-eastern Curlew, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, and more.

Indonesia endemic, Small-blue or Cerulean Kingfisher

3. Mangrove track and Estuary

Continue walk in the east direction to explore the last birding-site, at mangrove track. Hang and walk around the mangrove until 5pm to meet Golden-bellied Gerygone, Racket-tailed Treepie, Malaysian Pied Fantail, Mangrove Whistler, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Cinnamon Bittern, Yellow Bittern, Striated Heron. With some luck the endemic Javan White-eye might be able to be seen, recently the species is hard to find because of massive poaching.

Javan White-eye, recently become rare and hard to find in this area

Access and Accomodation Many good quality hotels around Surabaya city and ask the receptionist to arrange a taxi or ojek to get to Wonorejo wetland. If you are confused to determine the birding spot, ask local guides to accompany you in the field.

Notes: We advise you to write down in the Guest Book and add some extra money for conservation donation at Canteen “Mbok Rum”. Take a scope, sun tan lotion and hat to get the most out of the site!